When beginning your roller skating/ skateboarding journey (or even if you're just replacing your wheels!), it is important to know which type of wheels will suit your skating style best. To do this, two main features that you'll need to take into account are the hardness of the wheels and the shape of the wheels.
In terms of hardness, wheels are measured on the Durometer scale, most traditionally on the A-scale (rather than the B-scale). For additional information on the durometer scale and what exactly constitutes a hard wheel or a soft wheel, feel free to have a read of the Wheels section in our 'Anatomy of Quad Roller Skates' post.
To summarise, soft wheels are perfect for absorbing the odd bumps that you'll find skating on rough surfaces (such as pavements), allowing for a smoother ride and a stronger grip of the skating surface. These features make these wheels ideal for beginners. The downside to using softer wheels is that they will be slower than what could be achieved using a harder wheel, and they will also need more regular maintenance to ensure that they do not need to be replaced as often.
Hard wheels have a longer life span than soft wheels, due to their heightened durability. They also have a much better capacity for high speeds. Unfortunately, they do have less shock absorption and a poorer grip on the skating surface, so hard wheels are much better suited for advanced skaters.
Luckily, there is also a middle balance between hard and soft wheels! In this article, they'll be referred to as medium wheels. Medium wheels take the best of both worlds, as they do have some shock absorption whilst also being able to achieve faster speeds than soft wheels, alongside a decent grip on the skating surface.
Of course, the hardness of the wheels that you choose is entirely dependent on your personal skating style and the feel that you prefer.
In simple terms, the shape of a wheel can be categorised into Wide and Narrow. Wide wheels have an increased contact area with the skating surface, entailing increased stability and an improved grip. On the other hand, narrow wheels have a decreased contact area, making manoeuvres easier to execute.
What kind of wheel do you think you'll be looking into? What type of skater are you, and how did this impact the choice you're making? Let us know, we'd love to have a read!